Thursday, June 8, 2023

West Ham 0-1 Dinamo Zagreb: Orsic stunner downs youthful Hammers

SoccerNews in UEFA Europa League 9 Dec 2021


Mislav Orsic scored a stunning goal as Dinamo Zagreb beat a youthful West Ham side 1-0 in London on Thursday.

West Ham came into the game with their spot as group winners already confirmed and David Moyes made 11 changes to the side that beat Chelsea 3-2 in their last outing.

However, Orsic gave the visitors an early lead, taking a shot from an unlikely angle outside the area on the left, his effort clipping the inside of the right post and going in.

Dinamo were dominant for the majority of the contest and, despite failing to add to their tally, saw out an important victory that sealed second place in Group H.

Orsic opened the scoring in just the third minute with a stunning strike that swerved into the top-right corner from a sharp angle on the left edge of the box, leaving Alphonse Areola with no chance.

Arijan Ademi then spurned a glorious opportunity to double Dinamo’s advantage in the 33rd minute as Daniel Stefulj’s cross found him free at the back post, but the midfielder directed his header just over.

Dinamo continued to apply pressure, with Luka Ivanusec swivelling just outside the area and hitting a dipping shot that Areola was forced to turn over the bar. 

Shortly before the hour mark, Orsic was fed on the edge of the box and whipped a first-time effort towards the bottom-right corner, but Areola palmed wide.

West Ham offered little attacking threat, though the visitors were unable to extend their advantage, settling for a 1-0 win.

What does it mean? Dinamo seal second spot

West Ham had gone unbeaten in their first five group games, amassing 13 points and an unassailable lead at the summit prior to this game.

Dinamo, however, needed to avoid defeat or for Genk to fail to beat Rapid Vienna in order to secure their place in the play-offs.

Ultimately, they took matters into their own hands with a vital win.

Orsic on target again

Orsic has been directly involved in 12 goals in his last 13 Europa League appearances for Dinamo (eight goals, four assists), while his superb strike here was the first goal West Ham have conceded on home soil in the competition this season.

Young Hammers get their chance

In what was their 42nd game in all European competitions (excluding qualifiers), this was the first time West Ham started two teenagers in a single match (Sonny Perkins and Jamal Baptiste). The youngsters were not able to celebrate with a win, but it will undoubtedly have been a memorable occasion nonetheless.

What’s next?

West Ham advance straight to the last 16 of the Europa League after finishing top of the group, while Dinamo will be forced to play a knockout play-off tie against one of the teams that finished third in the Champions League. Possible opponents for the Croatian outfit include Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund and six-time winners Sevilla.


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